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Creating Memorable Articles: 5 More Tips For Writing Stand-Out Content (Reader Feedback!)
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A couple weeks ago, many of you were gracious enough to respond to my request for your feedback on what you think makes a great article. I think it’s so helpful to change our perspective from the usual one of the writer and to step back now and again to remember what it feels like to be a reader.

Are we creating articles that we would be attracted to if we were searching for information on our topic? It’s a question that makes you say, “Hmm…” and start to see the content you produce from a different point of view.

I picked out 10 major points from the feedback that you provided about what you think makes a great article, and last time we covered the first 5 points. As a recap, the first 5 tips we covered last time were:

1 – The Article Should Provide Practical, Useful Information That Will Improve The Life Of The Reader In Some Way.

2 – The Article Is Not Too Long And Is Easy To Read.

3 – The Writing Reveals The Personality Or Feelings Of The Writer (Depending On The Topic).

4 – The Article Should Provide Explicit And Strong Instructions On How The Teaching In The Article Can Be Applied To The Reader’s Life.

5 – The Article Needs To Have A Catchy Title That Clearly Pertains To An Area Of Interest Of The Reader.

Now, let’s take a look at the rest of the tips that YOU came up with (which I heartily agree with!):

6 – The article should have a convincing opening paragraph.

The power of the opening paragraph is often overlooked. That first paragraph can make or break the article, because the reader will read the first paragraph to decide if he wants to go any further. In the opening paragraph, you’re setting the stage and trying to hook the reader’s interest.

7- The information should be communicated in a clear and concise way.

Have you ever tried to read an article that made you feel stupid? I think we all have–either the jargon used went over our heads or the wording or argument was extremely complex and difficult to follow. Simplicity is best when it comes to writing articles. Using everyday language, short and simple sentences, and clear concepts really make an article stand apart from the pack.

8 – It helps if the article is not overly technical.

This was a helpful tip for me–sometimes I have to remind myself that I don’t need to tell every last thing about a topic in order for it to be helpful. I think people can get easily turned off if they start reading and feel like the information in the article is overly complex and technical. It’s important for us to remember that while we’re teaching topics that may be brand new to a reader, we want to teach in a way that even the newest beginner can learn. You may have some articles that are technical–you may be teaching a technical topic to people who understand such things. Keep in mind though, the readers of most topics are beginners.

9- The article provides new information, or at least information that is presented in a way that the reader has not thought about before.

No one wants to read the same old rehashed stuff. If you’re teaching on a topic that is popular and it’s hard to find new information, practice teaching the old info in a new way. It takes some creativity if the information that you’re providing isn’t ground breaking. I hope it’s some consolation that most of us are teaching on topics that others are already covering too.

I think about when I was at University and there was one beginner course that was taught by many different teachers and offered at different times and different days. The idea was that you would pick the class that coordinated with your schedule, but there were some teachers who were so popular that I would actually arrange my schedule around that class.

It is possible to teach the same topic as other people, but to do so in a way distinguishes you from the pack.

10- Â A great article provides thought provoking examples or analogies.

I thought this was a great tip telling something specific you can do to enhance the memorability of your articles. Whatever you’re teaching, an example or a story that illustrates your point is always helpful. Any time you can paint a picture in the reader’s mind (with words or examples) the better.

Your Homework:

  • Out of all of these 10 tips, which ones do you think will be the most useful to you?Â
  • This week, write an article that focuses on incorporating at least one of your favorite tips.
  • Do you have any additional tips to add to these? Please share!

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9 Responses to “Creating Memorable Articles: 5 More Tips For Writing Stand-Out Content (Reader Feedback!)”

  1. Louise says:

    Great points here which will improve my writing – will now focus more on the opening paragraph, so thanks for that. Point 8 regarding over technical articles, which cause your readers brain to shut down, can be overcome by providing ‘scaffolding’.

    I teach quite complex concepts to teenagers and find it helpful to think of teaching and learning points as scaffolding – so gradually building each level needed to progress or climb to the next. Try working backwards in your article planning……I’ll explain.

    You can cover one very complex point in a single article provided you focus on the outcome first – what do you want your readers to learn? Once you’ve got the learning objective fixed, build towards it step by step, paragraph by paragraph.. Simples!

  2. Frank says:

    Steve,
    I am impressed with the topics 6 to 10 that were covered in the article. I need a reminder to keep the articles easy to read, making some points that are understandable by the readers, and not put any technical data in it for the readers to comprehend. That only will make them become less interested in the topic and your article.

    Your recommendation of KISS (KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID) IS ONE OF THE BEST points that a writer can do for his/her readers. There are always points that can be explained in other common ways.

    The readers will then enjoy the article better and it will be more understandable to them without them having to look up terms or principals that the writer makes.The article should be written using step by step points to prove your original topic.

  3. Magallanes says:

    Thanks man!!I am always getting NICE value here! By he way is it okay to link my articles to youtube videos? I am afraid linking directly to my site might hurt it’s google standings wouldn’t it be sandboxed?

  4. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Magellanes,

    Yes, it’s fine to link to YouTube videos from your resource box (or from your article if you’re on our Gold Level membership). It is also fine to link to the pages on your website–that is one of the main perks of article marketing, as it can help the pages on your site get a higher search engine ranking for the keywords you’re targeting.

    Posting the same article on multiple article directories does not count as “spam” and is not in violation of Google’s Penguin update. While you should always ensure you have a varied link profile, it does not damage your SEO when you have lots of different sites publishing the same article and linking back to your site.

    About Google’s algorithm updates: It’s important to look at the overall long-term trend … the trend is and always has been that Google wants to put the sites that offer the best quality experience related to a particular search term at the top of their listings for that search term.

    That’s how they get and retain their own users, and Panda, Penguin – perhaps next we’ll have Piranha or Peacock – and all the other updates are just one more step along that road as their algorithms get increasingly sophisticated.

    So if you have a site that’s relatively poor in terms of the content and experience offered to users, even though you might be able to game the search engines for a while using whatever technique Guru A says works right now and get a decent listing at least temporarily, it’s a poor long-term strategy and it’s going to come back and bite you where it hurts.

    Here’s my impression is that Google’s engineers were looking at:

    => The ratio between the value of content on the site itself (i.e. the value the site offers to the visitor) and the number and type of links that are incoming to it

    => Whether the site itself is overly optimized (so created more for search engines than real visitors)

    => Whether the content of pages linking to it are also overly optimized (eg. keyword stuffed articles, or articles written more to game the search engines than to give any real value)

    Again, this is all part of a continuing trend … for example, looking at over-optimized websites is something they’ve been doing for years, back to when meta tags were basically it in terms of SEO for a while …

    But overall, if a site has a ton of links out there, and has fairly minimal content or value to offer to the visitor, and perhaps the content that does exist has been created more for search engines than to create a valuable user experience, then the amount of external SEO seems a little out of proportion and gives more indication that those links have been created somewhat artificially, as well as indicating the SEO is overly aggressive … and the internal SEO too all makes the site seem a little ‘spammy’.

    While we’ve had a very small minority of people (literally a handful) requesting their articles be removed from our article directory – along with no doubt thousands of other article directories and other web sites – courtesy of a Google Penguin notification, the vast majority of users appear unaffected, and there’s certainly no direct cause-effect relationship between article marketing and Penguin. It’s webspam that Penguin, and other updates, is aimed at, and while some sites were no doubt incorrectly ‘caught’, distributing quality content to other websites and building up the value of the information available online isn’t spam. Content syndication is at the very root of the web.

    Final Thoughts …

    I believe if people really focus on building value for readers/visitors through their articles and the content they provide on their websites, and stay away from anything that they’re doing that has the sole intention of attempting to game the search engines, they won’t go too far wrong.

    SEO should be a nice side effect of what they’re doing, but not the sole intention. For example, distributing articles has the nice effect of often helping SEO, but it’s also a great way to spread the word about a site to other websites and get traffic and publicity from the articles themselves rather than a sole focus on SEO benefits. Hence again, the quality of the article is key.

    In contrast, forgetting about the need to offer a good user experience on your site, and just getting articles written as cheaply as possible and then distributed just to get keyword links back, even when the articles are barely readable and offer no value to anyone – and even spinning them into unpublishable nonsense – is in the end, going to come unstuck.

    Play with Google, don’t fight ‘em.

    I hope that helps!

  5. Isaac says:

    I like your approach when you explain these subjects that are so important to us as readers and as students! Thank You!

  6. Magallanes says:

    Wow , thanks for the reply dude. That one’s enough for a post

  7. Magallanes says:

    BTW Shawn;
    My niche on the site above : Translate From Spanish to English ,is obviously about Language learning specifically Spanish. I am trying to find an appropriate category on the dropdown on the presubmission and I can’t see any. The closest would be education. What category do you suggest I submit my article on Spanish learning to?

  8. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Magallanes,

    I think Education would be the best category for your topic.

    Hope that helps!

  9. Magallanes says:

    alright shaw. Thanks

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